How We Work

Jun 5, 2024
Kate Walton

Hello from Steyer!

Twice a year, Steyer Co-CEOs Katelyn and Tony convene an all-hands meeting to discuss the state of the business. The first of these for 2024 took place last Thursday and afterwards Katelyn told me in a one-on-one: “It was good to connect but also: it was rough. People are so anxious, and the things stoking their concerns are so much bigger than any one company.” My suggestion to her: “Write about it. The best we can do in The Upside Down is to explain our current place in it, how we operate, and what we view as the Next Right Thing.”

— Kate

Screenshot 2024-06-05 at 10.26.11 AM

Here’s Katelyn:

Last week, we had an all-hands company meeting and opened up our twice-annual employee survey (anonymous); the questions and feedback we received vividly reflect what a strange, stressful time this is for so many. The most painful questions to sit with have to do with pay, the cost of benefits, and job stability—painful for me to sit with not because I think these are bad questions but because the levers that control pay, benefits, and job stability (even at a company I co-lead) are dependent on broader market realities that are as unchangeable from my seat as the weather. I feel so deeply for everyone who has shared with us about what they wish were different about this moment we’re in together.

I don’t know the future or even where we’ll be in a year’s time, but I do think that clear communication about where we are now and how we’re responding to a changing market is always at least part of the Next Right Thing to do. That way, as each individual decides on their best path, they have as much information as possible from Steyer to factor in.

In terms of where we are now, this graphic shows the full range of engagement types that Steyer has long had:

Going forward, in large part due to advances in AI, one thing we’re anticipating is even less predictability of client budgets, and potentially fewer open-ended, retainer-type engagements. Because of this increasing uncertainty, we plan to use this graphic not just with current team members but also during the recruitment process and during onboarding to help new talent understand really clearly what we know and what we don’t know: just how long-term IS this offer? Is this work contingent upon clients’ budgets directly, or indirectly? How is pay structured? The hope is that by discussing all of the moving parts up front, with a visual, we’ll at least set expectations clearly, and reduce the odds of gut-punching surprises.

What do you think? Does this graphic help? How could we make it stronger? Alternatively, short of somehow magically escaping the constraints of a market-based economy, what are other actions that Steyer could take to help both candidates and team members navigate this truly unprecedented level of uncertainty?

I’d love to hear from you. To connect with me directly, I’m at (or please come find me on LinkedIn).